Archive for January, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 17, 2010

Press contact: Nii-Quartelai Quartey

Mobile: (925) 698-4373

Email:mlkday2010@jordanrustin.org

For the second year in a row, a Los Angeles coalition of Black, same gender-loving/LGBT will march in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Kingdom Day Parade on Monday January 18, 2010. With the historic battle over Proposition 8 being waged in the courts, the Barbara Jordan/ Bayard Rustin Coalition, The Here to Stay Coalition and Black Lesbians United (BLU) continue to focus on promoting visibility, dialogue and community building as a strategy to fight homophobia.

“The legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. combined with the equal rights principles currently being litigated in the federal courts have extended to us a moment in history that we must not ignore but instead should use as an opportunity to engage our community,” said Ron Buckmire, Board President of the Jordan/Rustin Coalition.

We have a responsibility to engage our community in constructive dialogue around homophobia and a number of other issues (healthcare, jobs, education) that intersect the interest of the Black LGBT and greater Black communities,” said Nii-Quartelai Quartey, Community Engagement Advisor for the Courage Campaign.

Despite the continued repression of Gays by some Black churches and clergy, there have been progressive changes within Black leadership and the civil and human rights struggle for gay and lesbians. Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Congress (SCLC) with Dr. King, and featured speaker at the Obama inauguration stated, “When you talk about the law discriminating, the law granting a privilege here, and a right here and denying it there, that’s a civil rights issue. And I can’t take that away from anybody.”

Rev. Eric Lee, a prominent advocate of civil rights and current president of the Los Angeles chapter of SCLC (the largest chapter in the country) wrote in the November 2009 Huffington Post column, “At the center of this issue [Gay rights] is the right to choose how individuals live their lives. Freedom of choice is essential and critical to our democratic ideals, and also a core component of the Christian faith.” He has received sharp criticism from within SCLC and across the country for his views.

Rev. Al Sharpton gave the keynote last January at Atlanta’s Tabernacle Baptist Church, preaching “It amazes me when I looked at California and saw churches that had nothing to say about police brutality, nothing to say when a young black boy was shot while he was wearing police handcuffs, nothing to say when they overturned affirmative action, nothing to say when people were being [relegated] into poverty, yet they were organizing and mobilizing to stop consenting adults from choosing their life partners.”

Within the past year remarkable political gains have been made for Black gays in office. Charles Pugh became Detroit’s first openly gay and Black elected official in November. In the same month, Simone Bell became the first Black Lesbian elected to the Georgia state legislature. Rounding out the year, the local city council of Washington, DC voted overwhelmingly to legalize same-sex marriage in the District.

In response to this year’s parade theme, “Yesterday’s Dream Is Today’s Reality”, Here To Stay co-founder, Yardenna Aaron, remarked, Latrice Dixon, Here to Stay co-founder adds, “Dr. King’s dream will not be fulfilled until Lesbian, Gay men, Transgendered and Bi-sexual communities are a part of it. Our inclusion is the key to making King’s dream a reality. In this and every march we grow stronger and more resolved. We march for Bayard Rustin, the Black gay political strategist behind the 1963 March on Washington, that his voice and others we know like him will never be silenced or hidden again.”

WHO: THE JORDAN RUSTIN COALITION, HERE TO STAY COALITION, BLACK LESBIANS UNITED

WHAT: NEW GENERATION OF BLACK LGBT ACTIVIST MARCHES IN MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY PARADE FOR SECOND TIME

WHEN: MONDAY, JANUARY 18, 2010 AT 11 a.m.

Categories : JRC
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